Kathmandu, Speakers at a programme viewed that political parties used media to reach power. They said it during a programme on ‘Cartoon Journalism and Freedom of Expression’ organized by Cartoonist Club of Nepal here today. After the fulfillment of political parties’ ambition to reach power, they launch initiative to create atmosphere curbing free speech, they argued, demanding unity against such political attitude. Creativity is dented once the freedom of expression is curbed, the speakers underscored. On the occasion, former Chairman of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Shiva Gaunle, said free press and critical cartoon should continuously watch every affair in the country. “Journalism and cartoon can not function like servant,” he said, adding that once the media works as watchdog on irregularities, it should be an issue of public concern. Similarly, FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista argued that journalists need to face huge barriers of security to access people in big post which signals the country has not got republic in practice. “Government has the attitude seeking panegyric, and being petulant to criticism,” he commented, adding that the criticism however helps correct mistakes. He further stressed that freedom of expression is the beauty of democracy. The critical thoughts make society dynamic and forward development, General Secretary Bista argued. Cartoonist Club outgoing Chairman Abin Shrestha said cartoon journalism is supposed to play a role of opposition for power and it is a strong means of expression against malpractices in politics and in public sphere. As he said, creations of cartoonists are censored as editors are forced to work amidst psychological fear that they could be punished for featuring such items. “The condition in moffusil is more challenging than in the federal capital,” he added. On the occasion, Chairman of the Society of Fine Arts Journalists (SOFAJ) Keshab Raj Khanal viewed cartoonists were the first target when the freedom of expression was attacked. ”Cartoon is a visible genre and people of every group can understand the message it intends to deliver, that’s why, it is a powerful means of warning against malpractices.” Any law capable of tampering the freedom of expression should be discouraged. Cartoonist Club of Nepal’s Chairman Basu Kshitij said the significance of cartoon journalism was becoming wider and FM Radio and televisions had started delivering the message of cartoon which was getting space only in print media in the past. Cartoon journalism was contributing to the social transformation as per the need of time. —–

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